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Fantino in/out of VAC: changes in DM/other staff (merged)

Danjanou

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Journeyman said:
Whoa......that was a deja vu moment.  ;D

Jed I think JM just volunteered to join and help you. All his bling would look smashing on a Navy Blazer  :stirpot:
 

Journeyman

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Danjanou said:
Jed I think JM just volunteered to join and help you.
Well looking at the snow and thermometer, there's no signs that hell's freezing over.
 

blackberet17

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You need a subscription to view the full article on The Hill Times (https://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/politics/2014/04/28/misleading--column-on-veterans--programming-fantino/38303).

Here's a copy from our internal media service, which centrally collects all news media articles under a number of topics by keywords, including transcripts of interviews, radio broadcasts, etc.

PUBLICATION:  The Hill Times
PAGE: 
DATE:  2014-04-28
SECTION: 
EDITION: 
BYLINE:  Julian Fantino
IMPORTANCE: 
LANGUAGE:  English
REGION:  National

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Misleading column on veterans' programming: Fantino

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OTTAWA—Regarding Sean Bruyea’s column, “Veterans bang heads against Parliamentary, bureaucratic wall,” (The Hill Times, April 14, p.11). I must challenge this misleading piece on veterans’ programming that is based upon such fundamentally flawed premises.

First and foremost, you would be hard-pressed to find an expert on modern disability management in this country who would argue that warehousing injured and ill veterans on disability pensions is an effective or humane thing to do.

Nor does a monthly disability pension of $800 (which is the average for a single veteran) represent anything close to financial security. As a former colleague of mine used to say, “Nobody gets rich on a disability pension.”

I accept that the Pension Act was a desperately needed creation from the First World War and that it still serves many traditional veterans well. But in the 21st century, with a well-developed social safety net in place, Canada’s veterans—and their families, for that matter—are right to expect a more modern and comprehensive approach to their rehabilitation from serious injuries and illnesses.

The New Veterans Charter (NVC) delivers this. It was designed to help all veterans make a successful transition to civilian life, and it provides the holistic care and support that injured and ill veterans need to make the best recovery possible, in the shortest amount of time. The column will never convince me that this isn’t the first priority for any injured Canadian.

Furthermore, the NVC is anything but a “repackaging of already existing programs with (a) few limited additions.” Among other things, the NVC introduced a comprehensive vocational component to help veterans pursue rewarding new careers. That’s particularly important when members of the Canadian Armed Forces are now releasing at an average age of 37 years old. And, with the cutting-red-tape measures our government introduced last fall, eligible veterans have greater access than ever to as much as $75,800 for their education or retraining.

In addition, veterans participating in our rehabilitation program are eligible for a minimum annual (pre-tax) income of $42,426 while they are focused on getting better. For seriously injured veterans, there are other monthly financial benefits available that will raise their pre-tax income to at least $61,800 a year.

However, these new, and subsequently enhanced, financial benefits tell only part of the story.

The greatest strengths of the New Veterans Charter are three-fold:

•The NVC is designed to ensure the greatest help to those who need it most. This means that the most seriously injured and ill veterans have access to everything from one-on-one case management services to full physical and psychological rehabilitation services, as well as ongoing financial support, vocational assistance and health-care benefits;

•The NVC provides more support to families than ever before, including everything from rehabilitation services and access to our specialized clinics to vocational assistance and group health insurance; and

•The NVC is always here for veterans. Anyone who voluntarily released from the Canadian Armed Forces can still count on our support even if a service-related injury or illness only surfaces many years later.

Having said all this, our government agrees that the New Veterans Charter must continue to evolve with the increasingly diverse and complex needs of Canada’s veterans and their families. That is why I asked the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs to conduct a comprehensive review of the NVC. The committee’s hearings have just wrapped up and I am looking forward to reading their report.

After all, our government has already invested a total of almost $5-billion in new funding to enhance veterans’ benefits, programs and services since 2006. We have no plans to rest on our laurels now.

Source: http://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/politics/2014/04/28/misleading--column-on-veterans--programming-fantino/38303
 

Fishbone Jones

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Hmmmmm. How to do this succinctly without going into a full page rant. ::)

Fantino is a jerk and treats Veterans the way he treated the people of Ontario during the Caledonia Land Grab.


Now I feel better. ;D
 

observor 69

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And let's not forget the way he treated his senior people when he was OPP commissioner.  :(

http://rantingcanadian.tumblr.com/post/40998596182/julian-fantino-once-a-dirty-cop-now-a-dirty

Just an all around nice guy. NOT
 

PuckChaser

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Red tape cutting? My application I submitted in January is still on stage 1. When I inquired, they're waiting on information from DND. I'm still serving, I could have faxed or couriered them whatever they needed in a week, we're at 4 months.
 

blackberet17

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It can take six months to get to Step 2, PuckChaser. Friend had an application in end of September, he only saw his award finally about three weeks ago.
 

Gramps

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blackberet17 said:
It can take six months to get to Step 2, PuckChaser. Friend had an application in end of September, he only saw his award finally about three weeks ago.
I had one get all the way through, even got a letter saying I was entitled to something, took about five months but then they wanted more info to decide the actual percentage. That "zeros" the clock and I am almost at the three month mark for that decision. In total it has been 7+ months for one of the most common medical issues they deal with and all I have been told is that it is still at the adjudication stage and could be another eight weeks before anything happens. Is this the Red Tape they allegedly cut? 

Edited timeline
 

PuckChaser

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blackberet17 said:
It can take six months to get to Step 2, PuckChaser. Friend had an application in end of September, he only saw his award finally about three weeks ago.

Thats my point, it shouldn't. If I submit an application, there should be someone to review it quickly and automatically request documents within a week. I have a feeling no one looked at my file until the beginning of April, and now they're scrambling to find paperwork. You want to turn veterans against VAC? This is the perfect way to do it. Waiting 6 months for documents from serving members is an absolute joke.
 

Nemo888

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They are also reviewed by a nurse who makes 2/3rds(or less depending on hospital OT) what my wife makes as a nurse at the hospital. Make sure the doc explains what the test results mean.

Does VAC even still have docs who call you in for a diagnosis? They hated the job when I went through the system and turnover was pretty high. Most returned to private practice.
 

blackberet17

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All I can do is speak to the process. And remember, I'm at VRAB, so not sure exactly what's happening in Adjudication.

An application is submitted. From there, it's sent to HO in Charlottetown. Once it arrives here, the contents of your application are reviewed. Your service docs are requested from NDHQ (I believe to include your file from your unit, since it would contain the most current service information, but not sure). This is where the biggest time loss occurs, as everything on you is gathered - entries in MIR docs, x-rays, CF98s, anything and everything available. Once it arrives, the file is reviewed, and all the relevant docs are identified and set aside.

Then requests are sent out for further information from any specialists you may have consulted (for which you would have already completed and submitted a permission to release medical information) for your claimed condition. Here again is a considerable time loss.

Once all that information is received, then a full review is completed. If there are questions from the Adjudicator, they may turn to one of the Medical Advisors for clarification (of the diagnosis, of the service relationship, and sometimes as well for the degree of disability/medical impairment rating).

So when I mentioned the friend who went from end September to March/April before payout, there's six-seven months right there. And it was for hearing loss, the most common of medical conditions seen at VAC.

My understanding is, if you are still serving, it can take as long if not longer than no longer serving members, as your file needs to be tracked down from all your previous postings, as well as the different MIRs you may have been to, etc. - which is an issue for DND, not VAC.

One thing I know VAC is doing now is, scanning all service docs it receives, whether or not it's related to the condition you've submitted an application for. Now, I don't know how long they've been doing this, but it "should" help with turnaround times in due time...but because still serving members are still moving around the country on postings and taskings, current information from DND will still be required to complete the file.

Remember, your service docs and medical service docs contain hundreds to thousands of sheets of paper. I've seen case files in the seven to eight volumes (roughly 200+ sheets per), and that's just the documents VAC retains for its purposes. All sorts of documents are in there: Medical Attendance Records (from your MIR visits); Medical Examination Records (your annual/biennial medical exams); CF98s; PERs; PDRs; Crse Reports; etc.

Where have they cut red tape? Beats me. I know they've cut positions. But red tape? If what they're talking about is the receipts you no longer have to turn in for VIP services, sure. Otherwise...not seen.
 

Gramps

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Just to clarify. In my opinion, it is the system and process that is the problem. I have spoken to a number of DVA employees and all (with the exception of one) were courteous and very helpful.
 

blackberet17

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Sorry Gramps, hope you don't think by my diatribe I was attacking your point or anything. I know where a lot of the frustration stems from. I just try to explain the process as much as possible.
 

Gramps

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blackberet17 said:
Sorry Gramps, hope you don't think by my diatribe I was attacking your point or anything. I know where a lot of the frustration stems from. I just try to explain the process as much as possible.

No worries. I didnt think that anything was any kind of an attack, I just wanted to make sure it was understood that, in my opinion it is the system that is the problem and not the people (at least the vast majority I have dealt with).
 

PuckChaser

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Gramps said:
No worries. I didnt think that anything was any kind of an attack, I just wanted to make sure it was understood that, in my opinion it is the system that is the problem and not the people (at least the vast majority I have dealt with).

Definitely the truth, for the most part. People can only work as fast as the system allows. I'm sure case managers don't want a file open for 2 years, but when the process they need to follow creates the ridiculous delays, its hardly their fault.
 

Teager

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Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino says a new government ad that has begun to air during prime-time NHL playoff games is aimed at improving communications with Canada's veterans.

But in question period on Tuesday, Liberal MP Frank Valeriote suggested Conservatives were spending big to promote themselves.

Valeriote referenced how Tories spent more than $1 million last year on ads during the Stanley Cup playoffs promoting a Canada Jobs Grant program that did not exist.

Advertising Standards Canada ruled in August the ads were "misleading" but the Harper government received no sanctions. Earlier this year, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, however, awarded the Tories their annual award for wasteful federal spending.

An internal government report obtained by The Canadian Press showed the job grant ads were deliberately pitched to men, as viewership for the NHL playoffs was about 60 per cent male.

Valeriote said Tuesday that Tories were "feeding" on Canada's heightened sense of veterans' issues to promote what he called an "underfunded and failing" career services program.

The program allows veterans to be reimbursed for some services that may help them transition to civilian life, including job finding assistance or interview techniques.


"Why would they spend millions of dollars more on ads while not funding the very programs that veterans have been pleading for?" Valeriote asked.

Fantino said Valeriote was incorrect with his assertion.

"I have heard time and again that Veterans Affairs needs to improve its communications with Canadian veterans and indeed Canadians," he said.

Fantino said veterans need to know about the financial support, mental health services, and rehabilitation programs available to them.

"Is that member really saying that we should not be telling veterans and informing them and their families on how they can access benefits?" Fantino asked.

More at link http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/13/julian-fantino-veterans-affairs-ad-nhl_n_5319349.html

I have seen this ad and had to laugh. If you haven't seen it there is a video of it at the link. I found it very vague and wondered who the target audience really is?
 

Teager

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OTTAWA - Veterans Affairs is spending an additional $4 million on advertising this year — including television spots throughout the NHL playoffs — but ignoring the plight of families who care for injured soldiers, says the spouse of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An angry Jenifer Migneault chased after Julian Fantino and demanded to speak to the veterans affairs minister following his appearance Thursday at a House of Commons committee hearing.

The spectacle played out before a crush of reporters, television cameras and microphones in a scene reminiscent of Fantino's testy encounter last winter with veterans angry about the closure of federal offices.

This time Fantino — whose image took a bruising in the last encounter — chose not to stop and explain the government's position.

"I'm offended," an embittered Migneault said afterward.

"A man like that is supposed to be so proud of my husband's service? C'mon, that's a joke ... We're the ones who live 24 hours a day with their heroes."

The Harper government has poured millions of extra dollars into veterans benefits and services, but the challenges faced by caregivers represent a major funding gap, one that has received little public attention.

Migneault, whose husband Claude Rainville was diagnosed with PTSD eight years ago, has tried to raise awareness, but she said she can't get Conservative MPs — including Fantino's parliamentary secretary, Parm Gill — to return her calls.

The spouses of physically and mentally wounded soldiers need training and support to be caregivers, said Migneault. Most of what she's learned has been on her own, including a 40-hour class to help her better understand when best to simply listen to her husband, and when to intervene.

The money being spent on increased advertising should go elsewhere, Migneault said.

"Please just use that money to talk to us," she said.

"We'll tell you a whole lot about our husbands that you guys don't know about. Spend the money in the right place and you'll see real results."

During his testimony, Fantino defended the increase, saying the ads are an attempt by the government to communicate directly with veterans and dispel what he called "misinformation" surrounding the treatment of ex-soldiers.

"We are faced with the bantering that goes back and forth about what is — or isn't (covered); what facts and non-facts are; and also the fear mongering, " Fantino told the committee.

He described the information battle as one of the government's "biggest challenges."

Still, neither Fantino nor his deputy minister could say how much the advertising increase is going towards expensive prime-time ads during playoff hockey games — or how much each commercial is costing.

The opposition parties accused the government of promoting itself at the expense of improved programs and benefits. Liberal critic Frank Valeriote pointed out that this year's federal budget increased transition services for veterans by only $11,000.

"I'm wondering how you can justify for us your department spending more on advertising — a $4-million increase in advertising — and less on the actual programs themselves," Valeriote said.

The TV ads emphasize efforts to move soldiers smoothly from military to civilian life, even though the federal government often relies on independent agencies, such as the Veterans Transition Network and Canada Command, to build those bridges for individuals.

Critics within the veterans community have said the ads are misleading and give the impression the government is doing more than it actually is.

http://www.theprovince.com/news/national/Tories+spend+4million+more+vets+counter+misinformation/9888657/story.html
 
J

jollyjacktar

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That tub of lard, Fatino has to go.  Makes me quite passed off to see him at the helm.
 

Crispy Bacon

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Teager said:
OTTAWA - Veterans Affairs is spending an additional $4 million on advertising this year — including television spots throughout the NHL playoffs — but ignoring the plight of families who care for injured soldiers, says the spouse of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

::) Another attention w***e who the media is more than happy to oblige with 15 minutes of fame. Seriously, how can you ambush a minister outside a committee meeting (conveniently with cameras waiting) and complain when he can't stop to talk to you?

We can't talk out of both sides of our mouthes.  We complained that we didn't know what benefits were available, who to contact, etc.  Well, they're increasing advertising now to let us know.  And we're upset that the advertising budget is too high?
 
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